A cool hot summer…

To those searching for a next episode on my musical instrument looping pedals experiment: I’m sorry to disappoint you, that will be for a future post. It got very hard and I needed a book to learn more about it. That book has arrived, in the mean time. 🙂

audio-programming-book

Boys and their toys…

Also, that project had to be buried in favor of others, like helping finish a first version of the new web site for the orchestra, or just a nice summer vacation, festivals, making new friends and having new musical inspiration. About that last point, the following are AWESOME songs!

This one is funny, because one of my collegues (a fellow musician) actually always greets me in the morning like “Heeeey Kenny G. …!” I never took the time to listen to “Kenny G.”. And the recording of this song contains one hell of a piano improvisation.

And a nice Afro-Cuban one! Close your eyes and imagine yourself lying on a beach, enjoying your favourite cocktail.

I made a playlist on Spotify for songs like these, I’d like to learn to play them.

Also, the past few weeks, after binge viewing the second season of Narcos, I got inspired by another series: Cosmos – a space time oddysey. It shows the wonderful chain of events that lead to the world as we know it, and us, humans, an extraordinary species that not only created a massive civilization, but also began to understand how we got here and how incredibly lucky we are with the world that surrounds us.

cosmos-tree-of-lifeThe incredibly large “tree of life”, as shown in the Cosmos series.

At the same time, the series shows that we started taking advantage of that wonderful world so much, that it’s up to us whether we continue to trigger our own mass destruction or not. A lot of effort has been invested in the series on bringing the problem of global warming to attention.

I also read “WorldShift 2012” by Ervin Laszlo, a Hungarian philosopher of science, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In his book, he states that the current economic system’s consumerism, speculation, lobbying by big companies and short-term investmenting did not only cause a number of crises, but also an unsustainable way of treating our planet’s resources and why this is a threat for the most important problems of the future: global warming and decrease of available resources versus population growth, war and large-scale emigration.

consumerism-quote

Weird quote at first sight, but think about it…

Let’s take a moment for a little gallows humor: Laszlo’s hope was, unfortunately, to see a dramatic public “world shift” in the way people think about their way of living – by 2012. He even involved (at length) prophecies by the Mayas, other civilizations and great thinkers that foretold 2012 was going to be the shift to a dramatic change. It’s the one subject I think he should have left out of the book.

But on one point he’s right: there’s lots of evidence showing that our environment is rapidly progressing towards dramatic change, while the public mindset is not following at the same speed.

greenland ice melting.png

In the news this week: Greenland loses 19km² more ice, every year, than predicted previously. 19km²… Imagine a wall of ice a 100m tall, 100m thick and 1900 km long!

Every now and then, news confirms the global warming and its predicted effects. It also becomes hard to believe sometimes that the current economic system is sustainable. Banks co-financed by governments go bankrupt and governments are forced to pay again to try soften the economic shock. Governments and companies are concentrating on cost efficiency so badly that it’s the ordinary people that pay for it, and there’s no money enough left for dealing with poverty, climate change, war and refugee crises. It makes one wonder who thought of this system and if it’s still fit under the current conditions. This is sad.

For example this week, the announcement was made that our country (Belgium) found out that the deficit in this year’s government budget balance is 4,2 billion euros, while at the elections the promise was made to try (for once?) going for a balance without deficit – at least for the end of the government period. But still. 4.2 billion euros? Oops.

What makes me even more sad, every time when sensational news in politics is released, is to read reactions on those news articles on Facebook. The spelling mistakes, the fights between people that even speak each other for the first time, and conversations inspired by feelings of disrespect. And of course, politicians stir up the emotions by playing “whodunit” and “divide and conquer”, which even deteriorates the debates and the eventual decisions and results.

The way Laszlo pictured the future if the “world shift” would work actually sounded naive sometimes. But how can we at least just start to improve the harmony between economy, politics and science? And how can we change the way ALL people think?

Laszlo thought of that and presented an action plan in his book, one for politics, one for businesses and one for each individual. That last one is for you and me and it’s summarized as follows:

  • improve your ethical values, regarding caring for each other, earning money, technology (as a tool but not as solution for everything), product renewal, strive for efficiency and preferring global conscience over patriotism;
  • acknowledge these points that are easily forgotten in your economic preferences: the Earth is a gigantic mechanism that can be damaged, current economic markets empower the rich and distribute wealth very unfairly, consuming does not increase your “value” to society, and military conflicts are not important “for the greater good, concerning political strategy and economic resources”;
  • share your updated ethical values with your children, colleagues and other people you know, and reflect these values in the things you buy and the decisions you expect from companies and your government.

I found that interesting. Concerning that last point: the past few months I tried adapting my habits a bit, but it takes effort.

I manage to eat vegetarian meals now at work once or twice a week, but becoming a vegetarian won’t happen any time soon. And flying… I’m going to sin three times next month, for a holiday trip in Northern Europe that I’ve been longing to make (However: Yaay! :-)).

But I pay more attention to the food I buy (less packaging, more bio food, more local food) and during summer I started participating in car sharing.

My next step will be to order a bio waste bin and to move my savings to a smaller, more responsive bank, that invests in social initiatives, sustainable energy and cultural organisations.

Some people will find this naive. They’ll say it doesn’t matter what individuals do, because our carbon footprint is small compared to the coal and aviation industries for example. But if your preferences won’t change, businesses won’t change accordingly.

I also would like to get to know more about why the current economic system wants profit above all, I never understood this. Why must every country’s BBP grow? If any friend good at economics can explain or can tell me what to read, I would be grateful.

Fantastic, you read this entirely! 🙂 I wonder how much people will.

PS: Do watch Cosmos, if you haven’t yet. It’s visually stunning and extraordinary interesting!

cosmos-black-hole

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